[weakness]

Admitting that I am weak has been difficult for me over the course of my life.  I grew up in the 80’s where women were taught to be strong and to rely only on yourself because others will let you down. That hasn’t proven true over time but I still like to do things myself, because well, no one will do them as well as me., right?  For most of my life my worth has been based on performance. God is teaching me that my worth is not based on what I do but who I am and when I take on tasks that He hasn’t assigned to me, well, I’m just miserable.  I am choosing to be still in this season of my life and listen to Him as I study His Word and pray for His direction.  I am a doer, so sitting still and waiting is very difficult but I choose to so.  He has a plan and a place for me and for you.

I am learning to be ok with my weakness, because in it I am made strong through Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (HCSB)

 

[grace wins every time]

So life happened this week and I wasn’t able to pull out posts on Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday night our church youth group participated in Fields of Faith.  It is an event that takes place on an athletic field where the students invite their friends and lead prayers for the community, leaders, schools, etc.  It took place after our local high school’s football game which ended much later than expected.  Thursday night my daughter had a volleyball and then I was playing catch-up for my Friday night Bible study.

So I pray that grace will be extended to me for missing two days. 🙂
I heard Matthew West’s new song “Grace Wins” twice today on my hour and half drive each way for a meeting today.  This portion of the song really stood out to me as I listened to the words…
 
For the prodigal son, grace wins
For the woman at the well, grace wins
For the blind man and the beggar, grace wins
For always and forever, grace wins
For the lost out on the street, grace wins
For the worst part of you and me, grace wins
For the thief on the cross, grace wins
For a world that is lost

There’s a war between guilt and grace
And they’re fighting for a sacred space
But I’m living proof
Grace wins every time
 
For all the times I fail or fall short, grace wins every time.

[do your own thing well]

On Monday and Tuesday nights my daughter has dance classes. I sit in my car and read or finish my bible study homework or just waste the whole hour on social media. But last night I used that hour to write the day’s blogpost. And here I sit on Tuesday night doing the same thing. Turns out this dedicated hour is a great time to get my thoughts together with little to no interruptions.
I am participating in Incourage’s book club this month reading Emily P. Freeman’s latest book “Simply Tuesday.”  Every Tuesday she has a message on Periscope and today’s really spoke to me.
She spoke about 1 Samuel when David killed Goliath. The woman were singing in the streets that Saul had killed thousands but David had killed tens of thousands. This would begin Saul’s competition with David that would eventually lead to his demise. But she talked about how Saul was trying to be a better version of David instead of just being who God called him to be.
That has been my struggle with blogging. When I think of ideas I convince myself that someone else is already writing about that topic and they are doing such a great job why would anyone read what I have to say?  She said “just do your own thing well.”  It doesn’t matter if someone is already doing the same thing. It won’t be identical to what you want to do and we all bring different perspectives. She said just ask yourself “what is the next right thing to do.” Do that thing and then ask the question again.
So what is your next right thing to do?  Mine is to seek God through prayer and His Word and listen to what He is telling me even if someone else is already doing it and to do it well.

[grace extended]

Day 12 of this blogging gig and I will say it…this is hard. There is so much I want to say but I just can’t find the words to type. So I’ll start with asking the question, “what does grace look like to you?”
To me it looks like the sunrise each morning as I wake up and realize that God has given me another day to worship Him.  It’s when my children laugh (teenagers no less) because as bad as I think I’m screwing up parenthood, they really are happy, well adjusted kids. It’s when my husband kisses me and I realize that he is a gift given to me by God that I so take for granted on many days. It’s when I realize what He has done for me. He chose me and He sent His Son to die on a cross for my sins so that I could spend eternity with Him?  This defines how I receive grace.
But when I think about how I give grace to others I fall short. I can be judgmental, unloving and critical. My pride can cause me to think ill of others when Christ came for them just as much as He came for me. If Christ gives them grace then why shouldn’t I?  My focus this week will be extending grace to others as it was and is extended to me…to love unconditionally and to love others where they are.
So what does grace look like to you? How do you receive it and how do you extend it?

[let’s be real]

Our Sunday night small group is reading through Thom Rainer’s newest book, “I Will.”  Tonight’s chapter focused on small groups and the importance of being in a small group.  He says that if we are not involved in a small group we are just marginal church members.  Since we have been active church members we have always participated in Sunday school which qualifies as a small group according to Mr. Rainer, but I have always longed for the relationships that are built from a smaller group of people that meet regularly outside of church.  Our church building is great but to me it can be a bit sterile as opposed to the warmness of someone’s home.

Part of our discussion was about why people don’t want to meet in homes anymore.  Have we lost our sense of hospitality?  Is the church building a safer place to meet?  Is there something about being in someone’s home that causes people to think that they must let down their guard and be real?

I will be the first to admit that I have to really trust someone before I will open up and share what’s on my heart.  It can be scary to think that you might open yourself up to someone who may not understand your situation, judge you, or worse shatter your trust by sharing information with others.

Regardless of where we choose to meet, does the chance that someone might hurt you override the chance that you might develop a relationship that brings you joy, someone who will pray for you, hold you accountable and stick with you for a lifetime?

I think we need to give ourselves grace and those we seek to develop a lasting relationship with grace to take that chance to be real.

                                                                                      Photo credit Lifeway.com

 

[spotlight]

I was listening to thepointedlife.com this week on Periscope and she made a comment that really hit home with me.  “Be the spotlight, not in the spotlight.”  For many years I have based my worth on good works, my accomplishments and what I can do in my strength.  This is what Christine Hoover calls the goodness gospel. But God is working on my heart and slowly teaching me that I only need to be a spotlight for Him.  It’s not about me, but about glorifying Him in how I live my life, how I relate to others and others see Jesus through me.

[am i making a difference]

I am in a season of my life where I am not sure where I fit in.  Sometimes I wonder if God is making life uncomfortable because He wants something different from me.  I don’t know.

I have really struggled with where He wants me to be right now…where I can make a difference.  I have shared previously that I heard Him loud and clear tell me what He didn’t want me to do in some areas.  But I hadn’t heard anything about my job outside the home.  We have gone through a pretty major reorganization and it hit me today that I don’t know where I fit in anymore here either. I have worked at the same place for 25 years and the last 13 in the same position and I’ve always felt like I made a difference.  The change has been hard and today was probably the worst.  I don’t feel like I am making a difference, just really going through the motions.

So what do you do when don’t feel like you are making a difference?  Is it God showing me that it’s time to move on or is He trying to humble me to take the focus off of me?  Is my unhappiness a result of self-focus?  Am I really glorifying God in all I do?

I’ll keep praying and asking for His wisdom and guidance as I seek to give Him glory in whatever I do and I know He will continue to cover me in His grace.

“When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God’s generous grace.” -Erwin W. Lutzer

[my boy]

Today my oldest son is 19.  I am not sure where the time has gone.  He graduated from high school in the spring and started college in August.  I remember vividly bringing him home from the hospital and all the newness of being a first time mom…no sleep, putting him in the swing in the middle of the night just so I could close my eyes for a minute.  I remember thinking that if I could just get through that season everything else would be a breeze.  Then he became a teenager and worse than that a driving teenager.  I went from a physical tiredness to a mental tiredness.  I worried (and still do sometimes) when he is behind the wheel.  Praying that he will make good decisions and most importantly that he will love Jesus and make Him first in his life.

There are so many things I didn’t do right as a mom.  But then I remember God’s grace that covered me over the times of heartache and over the times I just knew I was messing him up for life.  As a mom, I can’t fathom that God loves him more than I do.  But I trust His Word and I have faith that He does indeed love him to the moon and back.

 

[humility]

Humility has been difficult for me over the course of my life. I grew up in the 80’s where women were taught to be strong and to rely only on yourself because others will let you down. That hasn’t proven true over time but I still like to do things myself, because well, no one will do them as well as me.  Or so I thought.  Turns out things will get done even if I don’t do them.  Go figure.

I am a perfectionist and anything worth doing is worth doing with excellence.  Good is just not good enough.  And I would expect others to have my same work ethic and I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t. To be honest, I had been establishing my worth on what I accomplished. Based on my schedule a few months ago (and the last 10 years) my worth was off the charts!  Not really.

God is teaching me that my worth is not based on what I do but who I am. When I take on tasks that He hasn’t assigned to me, well, I’m just miserable.  I’m pretty hardheaded and it has taken a long time for Him to get through to me.  But His grace proves true everyday and for that I am thankful.

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6 ESV